Analogy of learning to walk and mastering change
Think of a child first learning to walk. They may stand up clutching the side of a chair, attempt to walk, and then fall. Again, they may stand, take another step, and then falter. Interestingly, they keep trying - knowing that they will walk. But as you watch the child take their first few steps, do you think, "well, they have fallen over twice; it looks like they are not going to walk then?" Of course not, because that is a negative belief - you believe the child will walk when he has practised enough.
If this were the case none of us would walk, swim or do the incredible things humans do. What we require to do is persevere, time and time again. This is equally true within organisations.
This analogy is precisely the same in business when experimenting and taking risks. It is not confined to personal skills but relates well to persistence in organisational change. Similarly, the following anecdote illustrates the outcome of a fantastic investment in self-belief and time, and I wonder how true this could be in an organisational context.
Colonel Sanders & Success
The well-known story behind Colonel Sanders Kentucky Fried Chicken's road to fame started after he retired from work at 65. At this time, he recognised that he only had a simple recipe to sell to restaurant owners. He believed that he would receive a small commission in return, eventually making him a wealthy man. The recipe was his only resource.
He failed to sell his fried chicken recipe to the first ten Restaurant owners he met. After all, all Restaurant owners have a recipe for fried chicken. The number of times he failed to sell his recipe before he was successful was 1,008 times. He eventually developed a vast worldwide franchise from his success - but this would never have worked if the Law of Familiarity had not been turned on its head. Now, relate this to organisational change. How often have you heard that X will never work here, that idea would never be implemented, etc., etc.. What we need is persistence to implement and look for a better way.
If you don't make time to plan, you plan to fail
Ideas are sometimes poorly implemented in organisations - usually because of failure to think through the key issues and consider the scope and impact of implementation. In reality, most ideas could be implemented successfully if several hours of planning were invested to prevent the chaos of failing to plan. When we take action, we learn, and if we plan thoroughly, we prevent problems from arising.
There is no law of certainty that the same idea will work to the same degree in different organisations. The same strategy applied in two companies providing the same service and working in the same commercial sector may have different results - simply because of the failure to plan in context. Behaviour and how people react can be accurately predicted if time is devoted to this purpose.
The approach to change has to be hands-on. If we want to create change, we have to be part of the process. We cannot distance ourselves from it. This is why so many change initiatives fail. Those driving the change pass the parcel to others to lead. This cascading process of downgrading the responsibility for implementation to the lowest level sends a significant signal to everyone in the business: ' This change initiative isn't important'.
Contact Philip if you need support planning your change campaign.